Sensor network is parasitic on living trees

Following up on our “they really will be everywhere” theme, Laurie Sullivan of RFID Journal reports that sensor networks do not even need direct solar energy to operate now:

Forest-Monitoring Sensors Harvest Energy From Trees

The U.S. Forest Service is deploying a climate sensor network powered by energy harvested from living trees

July 2, 2009—The U.S. Forest Service has confirmed that it will purchase a climate sensor network this summer from Voltree Power that is powered by energy harvested from living trees. The system employs low-power radio transceivers, sensors and patented bioenergy-harvesting technology to predict and detect fires.

Using the word ‘parasitic’ here is more an attempt at humor than a complaint; the bioenergy-harvesting is a very clever technical achievement. Our point here is that soon there won’t be anywhere that sensors can’t operate… —Chris Peterson

One Response to “Sensor network is parasitic on living trees”

  1. Dale Amon says:

    One would need to determine is where on the scale between pure parasite and symbiont it falls. The device in question is at least partially a symbiont as the data collected may help the tree. If the chips were there to do something unrelated to the trees and simply using them as a convenient energy source then they would be a parasite in biological terms, albiet a rather benign one when compared with most of what trees have to deal with.

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